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“Every day brings new choices” — Martha Beck
Believe it or not, no one is holding a gun to our head and forcing us to write. It may feel like that sometimes, especially during these last few days of November when we’re facing the impending deadline of November 30. But the choice is ours each day to write or do something else. Early in this month, I made the choice to work the polls, knowing that it would lose me an entire day. A few days, I’ve made the choice, albeit reluctantly, to let the writing go after a hundred words because I was too sick or tired to continue.
We face choices every day, to turn left, to turn right, to say yes, to say no. While we may feel helpless at times, our life is a constant stream of choices, ranging from small to large. The decision to sit down and write is one of those, especially to write when we don’t want to — or when we know it’s difficult. I could tell you about the horror story that was the “family” Thanksgiving meal yesterday, but let’s just say the my choice for Saturday was to write early rather than later and get the day’s words out of the way because I knew I’d be twitchy and annoyed by the time we were finished with the meal.
We make choices within our writing as well, much of which involve how miserable we’re going to make our characters or how hard they’re going to have to work before they get to the ending we’ve planned. We choose which words we use, which words we don’t — and sometimes we choose to let our characters wander off in a direction we know they shouldn’t go because we made a choice to explore those possibilities. Or we’re choosing the path of least resistance because we’re tired, we don’t want to be sitting in front of our computers, but we made a choice to do NaNoWriMo and we’re going to get those words in if it kills us, damn it!
We make the choice to walk away from projects. Sometimes it’s because we don’t have the heart or energy to give what the story demands, but sometimes, it is a deliberate choice because we know that this must wait, that there is something else we need to focus on. At times it’s the demands of jobs or families, but the choice to say, “No, I will leave this for now because I know I need to finish this other project over here within a certain time frame.” That’s what NaNo’s been for me much of this year, wanting to work on one project but knowing I needed to work on another. The final piece of that was drafted this morning. Tomorrow, well, let’s see what choice awaits me.
I post these early West Coast time each day in the hopes my words will provide some inspiration or offer some signposts for the day. I don’t know how much impact they have, but it is my choice to write them because they help me, if no one else.
What choices will you make today?
Word Count Goal: 45,009